St. Louis Cardinals Add A.J. Pierzynski, Subtract Sam Freeman From NLCS Roster


On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced one roster change prior to the 2014 NLCS against the San Francisco Giants, which starts on Saturday night. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski was added to the roster, while lefthanded reliever Sam Freeman was subtracted.

Despite the fact that the St. Louis Cardinals won their NLDS against the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games, it was rather clear that there were some limitations on the bench. A group that included outfielders Oscar Taveras and Peter Bourjos and infielders Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma (who even got a start at second against Clayton Kershaw in Game 1 went a collective 1-for-10, with Taveras getting the only hit. Backup catcher Tony Cruz didn’t even see any action because of Mike Matheny‘s paranoia about not having an emergency catcher late in the game.

Pierzynski joins Taveras and Descalso as potential lefthanded pinch hitters off the bench, and also makes it possible for Matheny to use either he or Cruz as a pinch-hitter without fearing that starter Yadier Molina will go down and be left without a replacement. Pierzynski hit .244 in 30 games for the Cardinals this season and kept the team afloat while Molina dealt with a hand injury that kept him out for most of the summer.

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The removal of Freeman from the roster leaves the Cards with only an 11-man pitching staff, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem unless they are forced to use the bullpen as much as they did in Game 1 of the NLDS, when they used eight different pitchers. One of those pitchers was Freeman, who happened to make his only appearance of the series in that game, giving up two walks while failing to record an out.

Freeman was passed up by 2013 first-rounder Marco Gonzales throughout the rest of the series, as the rookie lefty went on to throw three scoreless innings over three of the four NLDS games. Gonzales will now be entrusted with the number one lefty role, while Randy Choate serves as the “LOOGY”, or lefty one-out guy.